Feeling stressed? Pets help people cope during isolation | HABRI

Feeling stressed? Pets help people cope during isolation

Studies confirm therapeutic benefits of having pets during stressful times

Brea, California (March 23, 2020) — As millions of Americans practice social distancing and home isolation to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, the nation’s pets are there to help.  Scientific studies show that human-animal interaction can reduce stress and loneliness and improve overall mental and physical health.  

The Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), supported by Nationwide, has funded and gathered scientific research that shows how companion animals can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, promote healthy activity and provide a boost to the cardiovascular system.  

Research also shows that pets are also a part of the solution to social isolation and loneliness, a growing public health epidemic even before the coronavirus pandemic. A national survey of pet owners and non-pet owners by HABRI and Mars Petcare found that: 

  • 85% of respondents agree interaction with pets can help reduce loneliness 
  • 76% agree human-pet interactions can help address social isolation 
  • 72% believe human-animal interaction is good for their community 

“The human-animal bond can help lower stress, and the routine of caring for a pet can provide feelings of security and normalcy for improved mental health,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI Executive Director. “Pet owners are also more likely to achieve recommended levels of daily exercise and have lower blood pressure, contributing to better physical health.” 

“Nationwide is focused on supporting pet owners and strengthening the human-animal bond,” said Dr. Jules Benson, Nationwide’s associate vice president of veterinary relations. “HABRI research helps to reinforce the message that having a pet can be a huge benefit during this crisis.” 

HABRI and the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) recently certified Nationwide as a Human-Animal Bond Certified Company, a designation bestowed for its commitment to strengthening the human-animal bond through research, education, professional development and support for its customers.  

“Nationwide is committed to protecting our members’ pets through thick and thin,” added Dr. Benson. “As a veterinarian, I also want to call out the amazing work that veterinary practices are doing at this time to care for our nation’s pets. 

Current information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates there is no evidence that companion animals can contract or spread COVID-19. For more information about animals and COVID-19, please visit CDC 

During these stressful times, it is more important than ever that our nation be able to depend on the mutual benefit of the human-animal bond,”said Dr. Benson. 

About HABRI

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit www.habri.org. 

About Nationwide pet insurance

With more than 800,000 insured pets, Nationwide is the first and largest provider of pet health insurance in the United States. Nationwide pet health insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2018); National Casualty Company (all other states), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2018). Agency of Record: DVM Insurance Agency.  Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com. 

About Nationwide

Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com. Follow us on Facebookand Twitter. 

Nationwide, Nationwide is on your side and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2020 

Contact

Jamie Baxter

jamie@theimpetusagency.com

775.322.4022

Karen Davis

davik53@nationwide.com

614.332.5924

###

Press Releases
New Coalition to Support Legislation Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence and Their Pets

A group of nonprofit and for-profit organizations have joined forces to better protect domestic violence survivors by establishing, validating and promoting the criticality of protecting their pets, too. This coalition is urging passage of the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act (H.R. 909, S.322), a bill that is adamant about removing a roadblock that is essential to the safety of these survivors with pets, enabling them to live healthy, safe lives, together. Organizations in the coalition include: Nestle Purina PetCare Bayer Corporation Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) Noah’s Animal House Pet Partners Urban Resource Institute Two of these organizations, Noah’s Animal House and Urban Resource Institute are just a couple of the only 3% of domestic violence shelters across the country who are working to keep both pets and their owners away from the dangers of domestic abuse. Together these two incredible organizations have saved more than 1,500 pets from abusive conditions, so that no domestic violence survivor is forced to choose between staying in an abusive relationship and leaving their pet with their abuser. “Up to 65% of domestic violence victims remain in abusive homes out of fear for their pet’s safety, and even more women residing in domestic violence shelters reported that a pet was harmed by their abuser,” said URI President and CEO Nathaniel Fields. “Through the Urban Resource Institute’s innovative People and Animals Living Safely (PALS) program, domestic violence survivors in New York City are able to find safe harbor with their pets in one of our dedicated shelters. PALS is the largest and only model of its kind in New York State, and this new coalition will help extend that life-saving, pet-inclusive approach to domestic violence shelters across America.” Did you know? Up to 65% of domestic violence victims remain in abusive situations out of fear for their pets’ safety[i]. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 4,774,000...

Press Releases
New Research to Study Impact of Therapy Dogs On Stress and Academic Performance in Children with Autism

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today it has awarded a $33,717 grant to the Texas Tech University for a new study, Integration of AAI and Applied Behavior Analysis to Improve Academic Performance in Children with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disability (IDD). This study will examine the effect of an integrated animal-assisted intervention (AAI) in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) on children’s academic performance and physiological stress. “The goal of this study is to determine if interaction with a therapy dog during an ABA-based intervention results in improved academic response and a decrease in child stress levels,” said the study’s principal investigator, Alexandra Protopopova, PhD, Texas Tech University. “The results of this study may provide support for incorporating animals into ABA-based therapy, a bridging of two beneficial therapies for individuals with ASD/IDD that could result in the emergence of advancements in behavioral science.” The one-year, single-subject designed study will examine 6 children between the ages of 4 and 13 with ASD/IDD. The unique, within-subject design will use the 6 participants to address each aim of the study. Dr. Protopopova, Assistant Professor of Animal and Food Sciences and co-investigator Breanna N. Harris, PhD, Research Assistant Professor of the Department of Biological Sciences, will expose each child to 5 conditions, 5 times each in a random sequence and will measure on-task behavior and collect saliva for measurement of cortisol levels. The investigators will then compare each condition on an individual basis. It is expected that when provided with a therapy dog during the ABA-based intervention, the children will have significantly lower stress and that the dogs will be a more potent and durable reward for children, resulting in educational improvements. “Scientific research, including results of previous HABRI-funded studies, has shown that therapy dogs can have a positive...

HABRI